The precautionary principle and other non-tariff barriers to free and fair international food trade.Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2002 Jul; 42(4):403-15.CR
International food trade and world population are growing rapidly. National legislation has been enacted and implemented in many countries to assure good quality and safe foods to meet increased demand. No country is fully self-sufficient in domestic food production to meet population demands, and all require some food imports. Current international food trade agreements call for free and fair food trade between all countries, developed and developing. National food legislation and food production, processing and marketing systems have evolved in most countries to ensure better quality and safer foods. At the international level the work of the FAO/ WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) and the World Trade Organization Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and related Uruguay Round agreements have been agreed to by over 140 countries with the aim to promoting the free and fair trade of good quality and safe foods between all countries. The SPS and TBT agreements rely on science-based Codex standards, guidelines, and recommendations as benchmarks for judging international food trade disputes. A number of non-tariff barriers to trade, often related to agricultural subsidies and other food trade payments in developed countries, continue to give rise to complaints to WTO. They also continue to prevent free and fair trade, particularly for developing countries in international food trade. A number of these non-tariff barriers to trade are briefly examined, along with other domestic and international food trade problems, and recommendations for improvements are made.